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An interview with Mel Zucker, Professor of Geology, Skyline College, San Bruno, California.

In the early 1900s, German meteorologist Alfred Wegener suggested that the earth's continents were once a single landmass that had somehow split into pieces, drifting their separate ways. Geologists the world over called his idea preposterous. Decades later, their ridicule shifted to admiration as new tools developed by the military to map the ocean floors revealed the engine that drives the continents' movement. Geology professor Mel Zucker tells the story of this brilliant earth scientist and how, long after his death, science finally caught up with Wegener's crazy idea.

An interview with science historian Richard Carrier.

It's not enough to know that a nutcracker works; a scientist needs to know why. Historian Richard Carrier recounts how, in ancient Greece, pondering the nutcracker led to the physics of levers. He describes how Aristotle and others shaped the beginnings of Western scientific thought: the notion that knowledge of the natural world relies on being able to question, test, reproduce and improve the accuracy of what's believed to be true. He explains why he sees science as a practice rooted in values, how it protects us from our own erroneous tendencies, and why questioning authority helps foster scientific thinking.

An interview with Isabel Hawkins, Co-director/Research Astronomer, UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory; Co-director, NASA Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum.

When astronomer Isabel Hawkins began exploring the astronomical work of Native Americans, their knowledge broadened her view of the night sky. She's since discovered several scientists incorporating the work of native people, both modern and ancient, into their current-day research. Isabel describes how she sees science as a cultural construct, the value of learning from personal experience, and that evidence comes in many forms.

A witty public service announcement for The Superstition Obstacle Course, where visitors were invited to challenge some superstitions. Superstition Obstacle Course was part of the Mind exhibit collection.

Invisibility, teleportation, mind reading—the stuff of science fiction, right? Yet much of today’s technology was once considered impossible. Given enough time, couldn’t incredible ideas like these also become commonplace? In this unique presentation, author and physicist Dr. Michio Kaku brings to life the science behind parallel universes and other fantastic phenomena. He’ll discuss the role of nanotechnology in learning to simulate invisibility, explain why NASA envisions sending “nanoships” to the stars, and reveal how nanoscience may provide an escape from the death of the universe itself.

Dr. Tejal Desai of UCSF talks about the intersection of nanotechnology and medicine, an area of research that has dramatic implications for the future. It could lead to artificially engineered tissues, or more effective drug delivery. It could also result in new kinds of health monitoring devices, as Dr. Thomas Murray, from the Hastings Center, explains.

The Teacher Institute's own food and entertainment maven takes us on a whirlwind tour of our golden city. Find out about the cheapest eats, the best place to see Art Deco or to go kayaking, and where to get insulted while you get your sandwich. These are Modesto's opinions; they don't represent the Exploratorium or its funders.

If you’ve been accepted into our Summer Institute, we suggest you listen to this short podcast, which tells you some things we think you should know about the program before you arrive.

Want to get off the grid but think it’s just too expensive? UCB's Dr. Jeff Grossman explains how nanotechnology may be used to make solar panels cheaper. We’ll also hear from philosopher Patrick Lin of the Nanoethics Group about ethical dilemmas that crop up when we try to improve our lives through nanotechnology.

Julia Moore and Evan Michelson of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars talk about nanotechnology products they’ve found for sale in a variety of stores. Should these products have some sort of special label? Journalist Philip Ball also weighs in on the controversy.